Gatlinburg wildfire relief: How you can help

Published: Nov. 29, 2016 at 9:31 AM EST
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When disaster happens, East Tennesseans' volunteer spirit comes out in full force as people rush to help their neighbors.

In the wake of the wildfires raging through Sevier County that have already displaced more than 14,000 people, already several individuals and organizations have stepped in to plan fundraisers and donation drives.

Here is a current list of the ways you can help:

Sacred Heart Cathedral School is accepting donations for firefighters Tuesday. They ask for bottled beverages including water, Powerade, and Gatorade, as well as high-calorie, minimally-packaged food such as protein bars and candy, and gloves, lip balm, and wool socks. Items can be dropped off at the white box truck in front of the parish offices on the way to the school, located at 711 Northshore Drive. The school plans to deliver items to firefighters at noon Tuesday.

Star 102.1 is collecting water, clothing, food, and pet care donations at their station, located at 1533 Amherst Road.

Fox Feed Supply in Jefferson City will serve as a drop-off location for Paws & Claws Animal Rescue TN. They are collecting bottled water and other drinks, as well as packaged snacks for firefighters. Items can be dropped off at their store, located at 250 W. Old AJ Hwy, Jefferson City, TN 37760. For more information call or text Wendy at 423-312-7400.

Remote Area Medical is responding to the fires and says anyone is welcome to call them if they'd like to volunteer to help. Contact RAM at 865-579-2555.

Tom Giles is holding another Fuel Our Firefighters drive at High Places Church in Oak Ridge Tuesday from 1:00-5:00 p.m. The church is located at 123 Randolph Road.

Danielle Yancey is collecting donations, including drinks and small packaged snacks, at the Outreach Church in Oneida, from 8:30 a.m. until noon Tuesday. If someone is unable to drop off donated items, they can contact Danielle at 423-223-2615.

The Sevier Co. Rescue Squad is collecting water and Gatorade for firefighters at their location across from Sevier Co. High School.

Another group will be collecting donations at the Kroger on Emory Road in Knoxville from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday; they will then take donated items to the mobile command center in Sevier County. They are asking for supplies including water, baby wipes, eye drops, lip balm, cotton socks, over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil, Gatorade, and packaged high-calorie snacks.

The Loudon County Sheriff's Office is accepting items to help firefighters and others displaced by the fires. Drop off Powerade, Gatorade, bottled water, snack bars and other easy-to-handle snacks at the LCSO/Justice Center. No monetary donations are being accepted.

Hard Knox Pizzeria in Knoxville is accepting donations of water and other beverages, canned and packaged food to take to the Red Cross. Donations can also be dropped off at other restaurants in Western Plaza, including Blackhorse Pub, Moe's, Runners Market, or Yassin's Falafel House downtown.

Twisted Mike's, located at 7125 Kingston Pike in Knoxville, is accepting donations of non-perishable food items and toys for children impacted by the fire all week. They will take donations to Sevier County on Friday.

The Ice Chalet at 100 Lebanon Street in Knoxville, is also collecting items for emergency crews and evacuees. They ask for donations of water or Gatorade, blankets, and protein bars, in exchange for a free public session pass. The business plans to collect donations every day until the need is past.

The Knoxville Chive is collecting the following items for fire victims: water, Gatorade, Pedialyte, basic toiletries, blankets, pillows, batteries, non-perishable food, baby food, diapers, stuffed animals, clothing, pet food, kennels, and oxygen and insulin. Follow their

to find out donation locations.

Recovery Strategies, located at 120 Centre Park Dr., Ste. 9, Knoxville, TN 37922, is collecting coats, water food, and personal items through Friday, after which point they will take donations to Sevierville. Recovery Strategies is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Greenback Memorial Church, located at 292 TN-95 is another location taking donations of water, Gatorade, snacks, and hygiene items. No monetary donations are being accepted. Items can be donated in the Fellowship Hall and will be taken to Sevier Co. later this week. Contact Pastor Lon Shockley at 865-719-5717 for more information.

Regal Cinemas' Pinnacle at Turkey Creek will host a drop-off for the Red Cross. They are collecting bottled water and other beverages, toiletries, clothing, flashlights, batteries, walkers and canes, diapers and wipes, baby formula, non-perishable foods, protein bars, and pet supplies. Items can be dropped off all day Tuesday at the theater's parking lot. Pinnacle is located at 11240 Parkside Drive in Knoxville.

McDonald’s is serving food at no charge to workers and evacuees in Gatlinburg. McDonald’s Raleigh region is delivering water, apple juice, milk, apple slices and some kids toys to the Gatlinburg area. They are set up at McDonald’s on Highway 321, next to Rocky Top Sports World.

The Center for Leadership and Service on the University of Tennessee campus is also collecting donations, including snacks, bottled water, and toiletries, to donate to the Red Cross. They are located at 2238 Dunford Hall, or you can also drop items off at the Office of the Dean of Students at 413 Student Services Building. Call 865-974-1039 for more information. Any students affected by the fires can contact 865-974-3179 or email

Kroger has joined with the Red Cross to offer aid to fire victims. Starting Tuesday, all Kroger stores in Middle and East Tenn., Northern Alabama, and Southern Kentucky, will accept monetary donations for the Red Cross. Customers can add any amount they wish to their total purchase at the time of checkout. The donation will be included on each receipt for tax purposes. One hundred percent of the funds collected will be sent to the Red Cross, and Kroger will also make a $10,000 corporate contribution to the relief efforts.

All branches of Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union are accepting monetary donations, water, and small snacks to aid in fire relief efforts. All donations will be taken to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has asked for cash donations only for the time being. Text 90999 to make a $10 donation or

to select a different amount.

Freedom House Church is setting up a donation center. The church is located at 132 Lovell Rd. They are accepting Gatorade, water, protein bars and snacks. You can make donations at the church between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Here are some people and organizations offering help to those who need it:

Mandy Tietjen runs an Airbnb in Fountain City and has offered clean beds and a hot breakfast for any evacuees. Contact Mandy on


Several restaurants around East Tenn. are offering free meals to emergency personnel, including Old Dad's General Store & Deli on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Hard Knox Pizzeria in Knoxville (contact Alexa Sponcia at 865-438-6500 for more information), Huck Finn's Catfish in Pigeon Forge, and Texas Roadhouse in Pigeon Forge. In addition, Huck Finn's is also accepting donations for fire victims.

Big Fatty's on Kingston Pike in Knoxville is offering free food to anyone affected by the fires.

Camp Montvale in Blount County is open for evacuees. The camp has several cabins available and can accept pets and horses. Camp Montvale is located at 4901 Montvale Road and you can contact Pam Wolf at 865-250-7420 or Marsha Sliker at 865-982-5225.

Brian Minton is also offering help evacuating horses, mules, and other livestock in the Gatlinburg area. Contact him at 865-388-6886 to arrange a pickup.

Wildwood Farm, located at 4902 Green Road in Maryville, is also offering assistance transporting and housing horses and other livestock. Contact Julie Maner at 865-256-9589.

The Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding is also offering housing to large animals. Contact them at 865-988-4711.

Curtis Barnard of First Choice Firewood & Tree Trimming is offering tree removal service to anyone affected by the fire. Contact him at 423-200-8600.

Phil Minor, executive manager at Fenton Nissan in Knoxville, says the car dealership has 40,000 square feet, enough room to house 80 evacuees, and enough bedding, food, and water for everyone. Retired Knoxville police officers offer around-the-clock security, and the dealership will pick up groups of up to 15. Contact 865-740-6749 or to arrange a pickup with at least 25 minutes notice.

Dr. Kelly Faris has offered up his three-bedroom rental cabin in Seymour for any evacuees needing a place to stay. He can house up to 10 people in the cabin. Contact him at 865-660-5369, or through


The Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness hopes to offer more permanent solutions to people displaced by the fire by working with various organizations to help victims find new homes. Visit them on

to learn more.